ITTN sat down with Prem Krishnan S. – the Addl. Director General – Tourism, Government of Kerala – for a chat about all things Kerala, and the charms that this south-western state of India, popularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’ holds for everyone, including the Irish tourist. Mr Krishnan was in Dublin for the Kerala Evening, held at The Westin, where Kerala Tourism offered a unique and well-presented insight to the destination. Key tourism trade personnel from Kerala were present during the event, and suppliers and agents were treated to drinks, dinner and the opportunity to win some exciting prizes.
Introducing Kerala to the Irish tourist
Kerala has been winning so many international accolades year after year – in 2022, it made it to Time magazine’s list of World’s Greatest Places of 2022. It has so much diversity – cuisine, spices, backwaters, beaches, hill stations, mountains, wild life sanctuaries… I could go on and on.
You can avail of a variety of experiences in this state which has: A 600-km-long golden coastline, 17 wildlife sanctuaries, its unique water world with 44 rivers, 34 lakes and innumerable canals. Languid lagoons, and wellness retreats, plantations and sun-kissed meadows…
If the Irish tourist is looking for escaping the winter cold, October, November and December will offer such warm temperatures in Kerala. You can expect anything from 22 to 35 degrees depending on where you are in the state.
It’s also very well connected. We have four international airports, and you could have a luxury 7-star vacation or a budget holiday. Your Euro would stretch far and wide and get you so much in God’s own country!
Plus it’s a vacation for everyone, for all age groups.
New offerings and old favourites – caravan holidays and cultural delights
We have come up with several new offerings so that a holidaymaker in Kerala can combine newer experiences with all-time favourites. For example, the Caravan Tourism Package.
This enables tourists to enjoy all comforts while travelling in a luxury caravan. There are different kinds of caravans available – with bunk beds, air conditioning, a kitchen area, reclining seats and all. It is a unique way to experience the state and its many charms.
There’s also adventure tourism – wildlife treks, paragliding, aquatic sports. You choose what you want and where, taking advantage of trails that take you to dark woods or high altitude mountain ranges, and the vast array of gushing rivers as also the off-the-grid secluded coves in remote shores.
Of course, you can also choose to revel in the time-tested favourites. Indulge yourself in Kerala’s cuisine and cultural art forms. From taking in its famed Tiger Dance (Pulikali), or the unique musical feast called Ilanjithara Melam (an orchestra of percussion instruments held under the ilanji tree in the courtyard of a temple), you will be spoilt for choice. The Kochi Muziris Biennale which showcases Indian and international artists is also a must if you love art and culture.
Stretch that Euro – all budgets find a welcome in Kerala
I always mention how affordable a holiday in Kerala is, and that includes your air fare. A luxury tourist can look forward to several 7 and 5 star properties. Those who want a wellness stay, or are in the country for medical tourism also find an array of options to suit their budget.
Then there are homestays. The Government of Kerala has licensed and accredited these homestays because they offer a very unique opportunity to experience village life, customs and traditions as well the cuisine of a household, community and the region. They also give back to the community providing livelihood and empowerment to those who host tourists in their homes.
A homestay offers several kinds of experiences. You can help cook, and relish a homemade breakfast (And believe me, it will one of the most delicious and comforting meal ever. Travel and Leisure has in the past ranked Kerala’s traditional breakfast among the best breakfast in the world, with Puttu and Kadala dishes getting good reviews.) Go on a fishing tour, or take a walk around the village, accompany your host to the local markets, opt for an early morning walk…
I also believe that a Kerala vacation ensures that everyone in the family gets what they want. Those who are elderly can avail of the excellent medical facilities, including Kerala’s famed Ayurveda practitioners. Thrill seekers and young-at-heart can go trekking and rock climbing. Wildlife enthusiasts can help bathe elephants.. Or you can simply take in the warm waters of the many beaches.
Europe – a big market
Europe has been one of the largest markets for Kerala, when it comes to tourism. Of course, the pandemic and the last three years have made a dent but that has been a global trend.
We receive a high volume of tourists from the UK, and we are offering various new experiences so that holidaymakers from across Europe can take advantage of what a holiday in Kerala provides.
Kerala is also very safe for women, and women travellers. This is being further strengthened by a first-of-its-kind initiative. Kerala is set to become a fully women-friendly tourism destination by implementing a comprehensive project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the state.
I look forward to seeing more of this beautiful city and intend to take a day tour. I loved the lights on the river as we made way to the hotel, and I really want to experience Dublin, its cuisine and its many attractions. In turn, I can’t wait to welcome you all to the beautiful and gorgeous state of Kerala.